Doctoral Studies in Educational Science and Admission



Doctoral studies prepare students for employment as teaching or research staff at universities and other research institutions, or as leading specialists in the field of education outside the academic sphere. Doctoral studies are research-based studies at the topmost level of higher education, during which the doctoral student acquires the necessary skills for independent research, development and creative work.

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Doctoral Thesis Project

The project should be up to five A4 pages long (excl. the list of literature).

The project should include the research problem, its innovativeness and importance, on the basis of scientific literature, the research methodology proposed and resources needed to solve the problem, and a description of how the expected results would be important in practice and for international research circles. The project should be accompanied by the applicant’s CV. The latter should include information on the applicant’s earlier research activities, including research publications and conference presentations.

The project assessment criteria (at least 35 points are required to fulfill the admission requirement):

1. innovativeness and importance of the doctoral thesis (up to 10 points);

2. justification of the research problem (up to 10 points);

3. adequacy of the research methodology (up to 10 points);

4. feasibility of the project (up to 5 points);

5. applicant’s research potential to complete the proposed doctoral thesis (up to 15 points).

The interview assessment criteria (at least 35 points are required to fulfill the admission requirement):

1. the author’s ability to identify and formulate his/her project for doctoral thesis (incl. research problem, related scientific publications, methodology) (up to 15 points)

2. motivation to learn in doctoral studies in education and to work in the field (up to 5 points)

3. broader ability to analyse and make generalisations on pedagogical topics (up to 10 points)

4. orientation in problems concerning education in Estonia and in the world (up to 10 points)

5. self-expression skills (all candidates must have self-expression skills in English, candidates speaking Estonian as their mother tongue must be able to express themselves in Estonian, too) (up to 10 points)

During the entrance interview, the applicant must describe up to 5 minutes his/her doctoral thesis project in English; this is followed by up to a 25-minute-interview conducted by the committee.

The admission interview take place July 04th 2024 at 09.00 o`clock Jakobi street 5 room 201, Tartu.


Admission to PhD programme Educational Sciences will include two stages:

1. competition of doctoral projects submitted by potential supervisors,

2. competition of doctoral candidates.

Programme Council of doctoral studies has set the following application requirements:

1. Supervisor can be lecturer or research fellow with a doctoral degree who has in the last five years published at least 3 scientific publications in ETIS categories 1.1., 1.2., 3.1. or 2.1. If supervisor is outside of the Institute of Education (SVHI) or Faculty of Science and Technology (LTLT) a co-supervisor must be found from the Institute of Education or Faculty of Science and Technology;

2. As a rule, a supervisor does not have more than five supervisees;

3. Potential supervisors will submit their projects according to the form;

4. Project will be submitted in English or in Estonian and it must include summaries in Estonian and in English. In the project, the potential supervisor explains why the Estonian language requirement is necessary when applying for the project.

5. Project summaries in Estonian and English will be published on Institute of Education homepage;

6. Project will be submitted electronically to Academic Affairs Specialist of doctoral studies of Institute of Education by 15 February 2024. In the project a potential doctoral candidate will be stated;

7. Doctoral projects that will be selected in the competition will be announced by 15 March 2024.

Faculty of Social Sciences

The doctoral programme of educational sciences in the Institute of Education prepares its students for independent research work as well as for undertaking top specialist positions in the education system. The doctoral programme of educational sciences functions as a joint curriculum, incorporating the doctoral students from the Institute of Education and the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences. The doctoral degrees are awarded by the joint council of the two institutes.

Admitted students will work as junior research fellows at the University. The estimated workload is 1.0 and the estimated time period is four years. The final workload will be fixed after the student is admitted, during work contract negotiations.

A doctoral candidate is a student who has all the rights and duties of a student and an external doctoral candidate is a person who, upon completing a doctoral curriculum, assumes the duties of a student and the rights provided for in the legal requirements of the University. A doctoral candidate and an external doctoral candidate (hereinafter doctoral candidate) must be considered and treated as a junior researcher and a colleague.

A doctoral student’s research, creative, study and development activities and work with students must be supervised and supported. The University’s supervisor is a professionally competent researcher who has experience of the University and the international research system and possesses characteristics and competencies required for supervision.

The rules that govern the organisation of doctoral studies at UT are set out in the regulations for doctoral studies and study regulations document.
See also the good practice of doctoral studies.

  1. The autumn semester Educational Science PhD Progress Review will take place on January 29th 2024, at 10.00 o'clock Jakobi 5 room A201.

The documents required for progress review submit on January 17th 2024 (Regulations for doctoral studies, points 70, 71).

  1. The spring semester Educational Science PhD Progress Review will take place on August 26th 2024 with the two progress review committees at 09.00 o'clock Jakobi 5 rooms A201, 206.

The documents required for progress review submit on August 13th 2024 (Regulations for doctoral studies, points 70, 71).

Completion of doctoral studies


Information for doctoral students admitted before the 2022/2023 academic year.

The period plan is the basis for the attestation of doctoral students admitted before 2022/2023 academic year.

There are two progress reviews in the academic year.

Part A

  1. Problem the thesis addresses, broken down into sub-problems as appropriate
  2. Literature outlines related to the problem (up to 1.5 pages for 1 and 2 together)
  3. Goals (sub-goals if appropriate) of the research
  4. Research questions/hypotheses
  5. Overall methodology (use sub-heading as appropriate)
  6. Reflection of the process of doctoral studies (describe, analyze, evaluate and discuss)

Part B

  1. Report of the work done so far to address the research questions (indicating relationship with published articles) prior to 2020-21
  2. Details of work done during 2020-21 to address the research questions/hypotheses (indicating published/submitted articles during this period)
  3. Changes made to the initial study design (If relevant)
  4. Evaluation of your status towards completing the thesis on time (up to 3 pages for a-d)

Necessary documents for the progress review: 

Procedure for assessing doctoral students progress in research and conducting progress reviews in the faculty of social sciences


Career conference „To new hights with a PhD degree!“

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Institute of Education graduation ceremony